English for English speakers

Why should my child learn English when we speak English at home?

Children who speak English at home but a different language outside of it often struggle with the complexities of English as they get older. Even children who arrive in a foreign country with a high level of English will find that their spelling and grammar stagnates or even gets worse over time. They apply the spelling and grammatical rules of their second language to English words, and sometimes words drop from their memory.

At Language Plus, we know that English-speaking children can be confident and articulate speakers, but sometimes those little errors just creep in. Language Plus offers special English courses for English-speaking kids with a focus on literacy and play. We use fun games and activities that promote speaking, listening, reading and writing, and work together to correct any tricky errors as they come along as well as celebrate their achievements. We aim to promote a love of reading and the confidence to speak in any context.

Every workshop is tailored specifically to the needs and interests of the group, so no one workshop is ever the same! With a vast range of stories, games, and hands-on activities that make the most of our location, children feel relaxed and confident.

Our aim is to support your child in getting their speaking, reading, writing and spelling to the level it would be in an English-speaking country. We informally assess your child's ability against UK standards for their age and report their progress to you during and at the end of the course.

The technical details: why supporting maintenance of a child's first language is important

  • Seliger (1989, p. 176) points out that: “… the bilingual may lose a sense of what is grammatical for one or both of the languages and not be able to control the mixing of the two.”
  • Morphological structures of L1 [native language] can also be subject to interference from L2 [second language]. They can be simplified, abandoned or replaced by “free, regular and invariant morphemes” that are modeled on similar structures of the dominant language (Andersen, 1982, p. 109).
  • An increase in L2 proficiency will often be correlated with a decrease in L1 proficiency (see Jia & Aaronson, 1999; McElree et al., 2000, Segalowitz, 1991).

How does Language Plus support your child?

  • Speakers who identify one language with one speaker (or place) and who are able to use one language while suppressing the other, depending on the communicative partner and situation, have been reported successful in the development and maintenance of bi- or multilingual language competence (e.g., Schmidt-Mackey, 1977).

By providing language learners with a regular English-speaking context -- place, people, and activities -- children learn to "code-switch", which helps with keeping their known languages separate. It reinforces and recalls earlier understandings of English that may get muddled in the process of learning and being immersed in another language.

Source

Ecke, Peter. "Language attrition and theories of forgetting: A cross-disciplinary review." International Journal of Bilingualism 8.3 (2004): 321-354.